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Comment Re:Your point is simple; the language is tortured. (Score 1) 1291

Okay, fine. I think we should redistribute wealth from the top to the bottom. There, I said it. I honestly wasn't aware that my comment made it unclear that I support that idea.

But I say it with two qualifications:

1) More importantly, I think we should redistribute income from the top to the bottom, and

2) I'm not proposing that we redistribute wealth equally or anything like that, a common strawman. I simply think that the system that has been rigged for at least the past three decades should be rebalanced so that, for example, CEOs are making a few dozen to a hundred times the salary of average non-management workers at a company instead of thousands of times the salary. I think that companies should be penalized for moving jobs out-of-country. I DEFINITELY think that the minimum wage needs to be raised and pegged to the cost of living so that we don't have to address the issue every few years. I think that the capital gains tax rate should be pegged to the top marginal income tax rate so that no one ever has to pay a higher tax rate because they make their money by working instead of making money from having money.

In short, I think that the harder and smarter you work, the more you should enjoy the fruits of your labor and productivity. But I think that you should reach a point of diminishing returns so that as you prosper, you're directly helping to provide others the opportunity and environment in which they can prosper also.

I've always said that I'm not jealous of those who are wealthy. If my company's CEO is making a billion dollars a year, more power to him or her. But then if they start laying off people, moving jobs overseas, freezing raises, cutting benefits, undermining worker's rights, lobbying congress to pass anti-worker legislation, etc. so that they can make just a little bit more, then we're going to have a problem.

Comment Re:The phrase 'consumer economy' seems a little si (Score 2) 1291

This is oversimplified to the point of being incorrect. Your flaw is thinking that $1 corresponds to some unit of effort. In reality, $1 corresponds to some unit of productivity, whether it's you, a robot, some technological innovation, a new business process, or whatever.

Currently when companies realize gains in productivity, all of the additional money either gets paid out to the people at the top or reinvested in the company, which essentially pays it out to the investors. The employees get little or none of it, which is why the past three decades productivity has been skyrocketing and we've experienced an average of around 3.5% growth per year, but real wages have been stagnant.

One of the premises of a UBI is to ensure that some of that 3.5% growth ends up in the hands of the people who are working longer, harder hours, taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet, and actually creating the productivity gains that companies are benefiting from but not passing down.

Comment Re:Am I the only person... (Score 1) 194

... who still thinks being able to get a wireless internet link in an aircraft doing 600mph at 35K feet is pretty fucking amazing. I can't believe people complain about the bandwidth - they should be grateful this tech exists at all.

Yeah, but the problem is that the service offered today is exactly the same as the service that was offered in 2008. There has been basically zero progress over the course of over seven years, and the price has been steadily going up for that service.

Imagine if computers had the same capabilities, the same CPU speed, the same RAM, the same form factor, the same monitor resolutions, as they did in 2008 but cost a lot more. Who would still be buying them? (Basically the same people who buy airplane wi-fi service--business customers who have to.)

Yay, monopolies!

Comment Good! (Score 5, Informative) 528

In this day and age of malware being delivered even by supposedly reputable third-party providers, using an ad blocker is just plain responsible browsing. I'm sorry that web site owners are out some revenue for it, but if you want to make money off of me, you're going to figure out some way to do it other than leaving myself open to attack from malicious users.

There are a handful of web sites that I actually support financially specifically for this reason.

Comment Re:The Dark Age returns (Score 5, Insightful) 479

You don't need to directly observe something in order to prove that it exists. That notion is a load of hooey propagated by someone with no scientific knowledge or experience.

I have never been to New York City. There's a chance that I might never go. But I have seen ample evidence that it exists that I don't need to actually go there to accept as indisputable fact that it is real.

The key there is evidence. I don't reject the evidence of New York City's existence simply because I don't want to believe that it's not there. If, on the other hand, someone were try to believe that the city of Atlanta doesn't exist, I would take strong exception to that because I've been there and I know firsthand that it does exist.

The problem with Creationists--and the reason it has NO place in a science class--is that they expect people to reject all evidence for a universe billions of years old and all evidence that the Theory of Evolution is correct in favor of another idea for which ZERO evidence exists, an idea for which mountains of evidence in fact disproves. That is the antithesis of science.

Comment Re: And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

Then take a statistic course so that you will understand what a "representative sample" means. There's a point after which it doesn't matter whether you poll 60,000 households, 600,000 households, or 6,000,000 households, the number will be within a margin of error that you deem acceptable.

If that bothers you, then don't ever leave your house again, because it's the same methodology by which, for example, car manufacturers determine whether or not your car will spontaneously explode while you're driving down a highway. It probably won't, but if that amount of statistical certainty isn't good enough for you to trust the BLS to have a pretty good grasp on what they're doing, then what else do you just take for granted?

Comment Re: And it's not even an election year (Score 0) 407

Actually, they do, and it is the one you hear most often in the media. I'm not sure where this fiction came from that people off of unemployment aren't counted among the unemployed, but the only three criteria for being counted as unemployed are:

  • That you do not have a job,
  • That you have actively looked for work in the past four weeks, and
  • That you are currently available for work.

I've noticed a disturbing trend lately, mostly from right-wing nutcases, to try to redefine "unemployment" to be something that it's not, in some way that is different from how it's been calculated for decades, to include people like retired people not seeking a job, students, new mothers who have voluntarily left the workforce, people who haven't sought a job in more than a month, etc.

Unfortunately for them (and you), unemployment has a specific economic definition and doesn't change based on what you think "feels right". The current unemployment rate is 5.5%. Arguing that it's something different is like arguing that the mass of an object is higher because your arms are tired and it feels heavier when you try to lift it.


Google: Our New System For Recognizing Faces Is the Best 90

schwit1 writes Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild, which includes more than 13,000 pictures of faces from across the web. Trained on a massive 260-million-image dataset, FaceNet performed with better than 86 percent accuracy.

The approach Google's researchers took goes beyond simply verifying whether two faces are the same. Its system can also put a name to a face—classic facial recognition—and even present collections of faces that look the most similar or the most distinct.
Every advance in facial recognition makes me think of Paul Theroux's dystopian Ozone.

Comment Re:We each have oour favorites. (Score 3, Interesting) 181

Have you listened to their new album, Endless River? It's almost all instrumental and has many of the same riffs from Division Bell. It's familiar enough to sound great, but new enough that it's novel. If you listen to Wish You Were Here while coding, I suspect you'll really enjoy this one as well.


Invented-Here Syndrome 158

edA-qa writes: Are you afraid to write code? Does the thought linger in your brain that somewhere out there somebody has already done this? Do you find yourself trapped in an analysis cycle where nothing is getting done? Is your product mutating to accommodate third party components? If yes, then perhaps you are suffering from invented-here syndrome.

Most of use are aware of not-invented-here syndrome, but the opposite problem is perhaps equally troublesome. We can get stuck in the mindset that there must be a product, library, or code sample, that already does what we want. Instead of just writing the code we need a lot of effort is spent testing out modules and trying to accommodate our own code. At some point we need to just say, 'stop!', and write the code ourselves.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss